It started in bed one morning when I realised I hadn’t had an original thought for months. I needed someone to make me wake up
For some reason it takes me two and a half hours to email my life coach. I write “email life coach guy” on my to-do list. I have a really long shower. I riffle through a stack of unopened New Yorkers, and pretend I am either going to read them, or leave them in my building’s lobby for my neighbours to claim, and in the end I do neither. I watch a 20-minute YouTube video about Amir Khan’s boxing career (“The legendary speed of Amir Khan!”), then check Wikipedia to see how he fared in the fight the video was trailing (an embarrassing knockout). I send three tweets and scroll Instagram. I stand at the fridge and eat some hummus with a plain cracker for no reason at all. Finally, I sit and write the email. It is 36 words long. Tomas, the life coach, writes back almost immediately. That was the absolute last thing I wanted.
The pandemic was broadly fine for me. I worked at home anyway, so I didn’t have any shock adjustment to make. I didn’t (and still don’t) have any children to look after, so there wasn’t any particular agony with my many lives layering on top of each other in a confined space. My girlfriend, Hannah, and I did the usual things to stay sane when confronted with seemingly endless periods of time and no real social life: jigsaws, taking too long to cook dinner, a Sopranos rewatch.